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About the Story
Lina is a first year student studying magic. Lina isn't doing very well at her classes. Lina is apprenticing for the Witch of Howling Woods because no one else would take her.
14th Place - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)
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Number of Reviews: 6
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In Remedial Witchcraft you play as an inexperienced practitioner of magic arts. Not an uncommon premise: Games from Infocom’s classic Enchanter way back in 1983 to both Charming and my own Junior Arithmancer from the previous IFComp have featured a similar PC. Remedial Witchcraft reminds me particularly of Charming, as in that game and this one you’re not just inexperienced, you’re also kind of bumbling.
The gameplay is quite directed. At the very beginning the witch you’re apprenticed to gives you a couple of tasks to perform. Then, after you complete those, you’re presented with another set of tasks to perform. And frequently in the midst of completing these tasks the game will make suggestions for what you should do next. All of this means that there’s very little stumbling around wondering what you’re supposed to be doing. It certainly eases the gameplay and reduces the frustration that often occurs in puzzle-heavy games, but for me it was a little too much hand-holding. Of course, I also like banging my head against puzzle-heavy games.
The writing style is short. Choppy. Frequently not full sentences. Very casual. Distinctive. It’s an interesting choice that fits the PC’s character.
One of the magical items you get to play with is particularly delightful: the (Spoiler - click to show)teleportation rock.
Overall, I think I would have preferred more of a challenge, but I enjoyed figuring out the puzzles that I did in Remedial Witchcraft.
Remedial Witchcraft is a tight game: in a genre full of excess, it does a good job at keeping witchcraft manageable. There’s only a few spells and a handful of locations, and for the most part the puzzles are fun and well-hinted.
There’s some good atmosphere going on here too – the world building is (thankfully) light on exposition, and the writing is clear, if a little laconic.
(Spoiler - click to show)
If there’s one thing about RW I would ask for, it’s just more. The cauldron interaction is so well fleshed out for using it only once, and the rock/wand mechanic has a lot of untapped potential (I was hoping to throw it through the witch’s bedroom window, alas).
I also had a number of small bugs playing through my downloaded version – the teapot description mentioned it being captured even after I freed it, the teleportation circle in the room didn’t work, and I had to resort to the walkthrough to get the word ‘dispul’, which never triggered for me.
Looking at the updates afterwards, however, it seems as though these problems have been fixed. Perhaps only the online play file was changed?
As to the end game – it was so unexpectedly glum after such a so-far charming experience I’m wondering if perhaps there’s more than one ending?
Overall, I really liked RW. It’s my favorite of the competition so far and I had a great time with it. I look forward to seeing what dgztiea puts out in the future, and for a first published parser game, they should be very proud.
'Wizard/Witch's Apprentice' games are very common, from old ones like "The Wizard's Apprentice" and "Berrost's Challenge" to more recent ones like "Charming" and "Oppositely Opal" (one of my favorites!).
This game avoids many of the problems of the genre. It restricts its state space nicely both with regards to books (there are only a few, and only a few topics to look up), locations (only about 7), and ingredients (about 4). Most of these witch/wizard games just open up too quickly.
I found the puzzles very satisfying. My most negative experience was right at the beginning with the crystal ball. (Spoiler - click to show)I couldn't reach the ball, but there were length-enhancing things around (like the duster). It was not intuitive to me that you could climb up).
I felt like the ending could have used a bit more build up or that there could be more details here and there. But that's more of a design preference, and not a bug. This is a solid game that will please parser fans.
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